Let’s discuss audio as a marketing channel. Historically, its been referred to as radio; however, so much of it is now online that radio waves only figure into part of the equation. Internet radio, music streaming services, podcasts, navigation apps and digital assistants are all pushing audio content into more aspects of daily life. Today, audio represents an opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers at times when other media are not in use and it is proving to have effectiveness that rises above the clutter.
Here are three reasons why audio should be a core part of every marketer’s advertising mix:
1. Reach – audio is pervasive with unmatched audience reach
2. Mobile – audio is the quintessential mobile media
3. Efficacy – audio delivers proven engagement and ROI
Reach – Access Nearly 100 Percent of U.S. Adults
Nielsen data shows that broadcast radio alone reaches 93 percent of U.S. adults weekly. That 230 million listeners include 93 percent of millennials and 95 percent of Gen X. eMarketer data forecasts that 177 million listeners with a favorable demographic skew will access Internet radio monthly in 2016.
“Audio is a growth medium as more publishers and content creators invest in the space. You’re seeing major investments, from high-end headphones and ear buds, home audio systems like Sonos and Bose, and even old school turntables and the vinyl comeback” says Fred Jacobs, president, Jacobs Media. Add in podcasts, users of turn-by-turn navigation apps and all of the people getting information from Siri, Cortana and Alexa and you push that 93 percent reach even higher. To put this in perspective, television only reaches 87 percent of U.S. adults weekly while audio is approaching 100 percent.
Consumers also spend a lot of time with audio. When you combine broadcast and Internet radio, consumers average two hours and 45 minutes of listening per day. That represents a tremendous number of opportunities to reach consumers when other media are not available. And, it’s about more than Spotify, Pandora, podcasts and broadcast radio. The increase in non-entertainment productivity-oriented audio is expanding listening attention even further into more parts of a consumer’s day.
Mobile – Audio is the Quintessential Mobile Media
U.S. mobile advertising is expected to grow from $29 billion in 2015 to over $40 billion in 2016. Why? That’s where the consumers are spending time. Yahoo’s Flurry reported that time spent on mobile was up 117 percent in 2015. comScore now pegs mobile at 54 percent of all digital media consumption time.
When consumers are on the go, audio is the preferred media choice. It is the only media that can be safely consumed when users are simultaneously engaged in other activities that require use of your eyes or hands such as driving, exercising or walking. If marketers are trying to reach consumers when they are multitasking like this, visual communication is ineffective. Audio is the only ad format truly accessible to mobile consumers regardless of their activity at the moment the ad is served.
“Simply put, marketing dollars should follow audience, and the digital audio audience continues its very consistent and steep growth trajectory. With 79 percent of measured digital audio happening on mobile devices, brands are able to leverage both dashboard speakers and ear buds to establish 30-second, non-skippable, one-to-one relationships with consumers,” says Mike Reznick, EVP of advertising sales at Triton Digital.
Efficacy – Audio Is The Most Engaging Medium?
While audio does have reach and can provide access to mobile consumers, is it effective? Nielsen Catalina Solutions provided evidence in 2014 that audio may in fact be the most effective channel in delivering advertising ROI. In a study of ten national brands, it found that each $1 in advertising delivered a $6 sales lift on average. And that was for one-way broadcast ads with no backchannel for instant consumer engagement.
Triton’s Mr. Reznick commented, “Layer in advanced engagement technology such as interactive audio advertising along with post-listen attribution metrics, and brands are able to source results back to individual digital audio campaigns.” Interactive audio ads delivered through mobile apps that enable users to respond by voice have been delivering consumer engagement rates of 11-30 times higher than standard mobile ad formats. Audio combines many of the best qualities of digital advertising with the personal connection, user loyalty and trust more common to legacy media.
Whether you are looking for total reach, access to mobile consumers while on the go or an advertising channel with proven engagement and ROI performance, audio delivers. “There’s an audio renaissance taking place. From a content standpoint, satellite radio, podcasting, streaming, and personal music collections are all reasons why more audio is being consumed now than ever before,” added Mr. Jacobs. The next time you want to ignite the performance of a marketing campaign, add audio to the advertising mix. The metrics are too good to pass up.